Julian Sincock with an update from the ARC aboard the Swan 51 Northern Child 1/12/06

Daily Log No.6
DateFriday 1 December
Position20.56N 25.30W

This morning it is the 1 December and I guess that for most of you the days are drawing in, the temperatures are becoming cooler and the weather more wintry?

Well, out here we’re suffering too – the wind has been generally light for the last 36 hours, which has meant that the boat has been nice and steady. The skies are typical of this region at this time of year, mostly blue with puffy white cumulus clouds dotted around like woolly sheep and during the day the temperature has got up to around 30 degrees C. Hmm, I guess it’s not that bad! Off watch in the afternoon, the crew is mostly to be found reading on the foredeck in the shade of the sails, listening to the water rushing past the foredeck.

Just before dark yesterday evening we had to gybe, bringing the wind across to the other side of the boat, as it had shifted. Now feeling mildly confident with our abilities, the old spinnaker came down, gybe completed pretty quick and the spinnaker hoisted on the new side. Then it went wrong! As we hoisted the big blue and white kite, the boat went through a massive series of rolls and the sail managed to wrap itself around our inner forestay. No problem. Down it came again, except a little too far and in fact managed to drop itself into the water. Oh no. Now, spinnakers are not meant to be used in the water and so we quickly released the corners and hauled it on board in under a minute – trouble was, it had suffered as a result of its aquatic adventures and on packing it back into its bag we discovered a 10 foot rip – ooops!

Not to be discouraged, we hoisted our asymmetric spi PDQ and were off again at 6 knots in light breeze towards St Lucia. The sail will be dried in the morning, repaired by the duty watch and put up again in the early afternoon! No worries!

The picture todayabovehas been of the Port watch, under Dave C. Dave C has given the trip to himself as his 50th birthday present – way to go, Dave! He has been sailing for 15 years, the first 10 years in dinghies and the last five years racing offshore. Dave has participated in RORC and JOG offshores and owns a Hawk 20 daysailor, with which he taught his children to sail.

Dave A celebrates his 50th on passage, just before we get in to St Lucia. He has been sailing yachts for eight years, albeit ones with only two white sails and not too many ropes! Dave has bareboat chartered in the Seychelles, Majorca, Greece and the Solent. He is a keen tinkerer and fixer, and is half of the famous Henri/Dave A team currently repairing our spinnaker!

Henri is 18 and doing a gap year before going to Manchester university. Henri started sailing at the age of 8 in Hobies and progressed to Laser racing. On bigger boats Henri sailed with his father on family holidays and is now a dinghy racing instructor. Henri has worked a couple of seasons teaching with Rockley Watersports in France in order to raise the money to finance his gap year. Today he fancies himself as a professional sailmaker – let’s see how long the repair lasts – I will attach a photo of the repair tomorrow!

Luis hails from Santander in Northern Spain and has come on the trip with his college friend Javier who is on the Starboard watch. Luis started sailing as a child and has progressed to racing First Class 8s in France and Spain. He has a brother who is a paralympic sailor and has competed in the last three Olympic Games.

Al is from Long Island, New York, and lives in Great South Bay. He lives in an old Carriage House, which he had moved 200 yards so that he could get a better aspect and a view over the Bay! Al owns a 39ft O’Day sailboat which he cruises up on the New England Coast and keeps on the east end of Long island in Orient Point. Al has also been chartering sailboats in the Caribbean for over 20 years. What an interesting mix of people we have on board, plenty to chat about on the night watches!

This morning I overheard a lovely conversation between Kitty Kat and Dave A.
Dave A on deck: Dolphins:
Kitty: Where?
Dave A: In the water!

We have had a super 24 hours sail – mostly in calm waters with sunshine and under a star studded night. We have sailed 140 miles towards St Lucia leaving us with roughly 2,100 miles still to run. The wind outlook looks good and all’s well on board.

A bientot,